Cape Wind Associates announced today that it has ceased the development of its proposed offshore wind farm and is surrendering its federal lease for 46 square miles in Nantucket Sound, officially putting an end to a 16-year effort to build the controversial project.
“Cape Wind has confirmed to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management that it has ceased development of its proposed offshore wind farm project in Nantucket Sound and has filed to terminate its offshore wind development lease that was issued in 2010,” according to a statement emailed to the Times by Cape Wind vice president Dennis Duffy.
The project was dealt a major setback in January 2015, when Eversource and National Grid ended those contracts to buy power from the turbines, and again in 2016 when the state Energy Facilities Siting Board declined to extend permits for the project that had originally been issued in 2009.
Opponents had argued the project was a danger to navigation, marine life, birds and the local economy. Proponents argued it was necessary to help combat climate change, would create jobs and would launch the country’s offshore wind energy industry.
“During Cape Wind’s development period we successfully developed over a billion dollars of renewable solar and biomass energy projects and, although we were unable to bring Cape Wind to fruition, we are proud of the catalyzing and pioneering effort we devoted to bringing offshore wind to the United States,” Cape Wind president James Gordon said in a statement included in the email.
Opponents of the project had recently appealed the bureau’s decision to allow the offshore wind energy developer to maintain its lease in the Sound, where the company had planned to build 130 wind turbines.
“It’s fantastic news for us and all the groups that have been fighting this project for years,” said Audra Parker, president of the project’s primary opposition group, the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, after being told about the statement from Cape Wind. “Clearly it’s a major accomplishment.”